Going quickly to its Web site, I found this official explanation hardly enlightening: "Oracle provides a wide choice of software, systems, and cloud deployment models—including public, on-premises, and hybrid clouds—to ensure that technology flexes to the unique needs of a business. Oracle Cloud is a complete, integrated stack of platform, infrastructure, and application services. With advanced scalability and security, Oracle Cloud enables technical agility across the enterprise, connects people to information for clearer insights, and fosters efficiency through simplified workflows."
Got it? (Will be on the final exam.)
Then it dawned on me that there are probably lots of tech companies with names everyone knows, but are hard to quickly define, like Exxon=oil spills or GM=auto recalls or Chipotle=E. coli. As a public service, here are some easy to understand summaries of some everyday big tech names:
APPLE: a narcotic substance largely manufactured in China and sold in stores that have no walls as part of its illusory "transparency." Once addicted, users are compelled to buy ONLY Apple regardless of how they change the formula, which always results in prices increases. Addicts do not respond to suggestions they withdraw with Japanese substitutes and insist they are not part of a cult, even though they are. AMC spit-balling new series: “Fear The Apple User.”
FACEBOOK: started as a college prank to compare the attractiveness of undergraduate women, has now morphed into the largest repository of personal information outside of the NSA (oh, and Amazon). In spite of persistent concerns about online companies invading their privacy, Facebookers voluntarily dump loads of personal information on to the site, which is quickly converted into targeting data for marketers. Largest ad segment: Clearly Over-Served Plastic Cup Users.
DELL: Won the PC battle against Commodore, Tandy, IBM, Compaq, HP and others only to lose the war when everyone outside of work stopped using desktops in favor of smartphones. Shifts focus to peripherals like printers and monitors that cost more than equivalent-sized LED TV monitors. Owner takes out frustrations on NBA. Buys EMC to lock in enterprise side of the business. Most famous for outsourcing costumer service to non-English speaking foreign nations where level 1 phone-answerers are not entirely sure which is the start button and which is the USB port until they look it up.
MICROSOFT: Launches 10 or so versions of a PC operating system that oddly gets worse, then better, then worse, then better. Misuses AI to determine desktops should look like smartphones, pissing off entire two or three generations of users. Builds world's best word processor software only to screw it up with animated paper clips and changing the interface JUST enough to make users relearn it with each "upgrade." Finally abandons desktop for cloud-based subscription model that nobody wants as PC biz sinks into the Pacific (see DELL).
IBM: Was once synonymous with biggest, fast super-computers and best-built laptops, but now yields both market positions to Asian nations. Keeps one on hand to play chess and calculate how to make a gourmet dinner out of the three items left in the fridge. Becomes a "consulting" firm brought in to absorb the blame for layoffs and division shutdowns because the CEO doesn't have the cojones to own the hard decisions. Enshrines white shirts and pocket protectors in the Geek Hall of Fame.